The CEO of CNN’s parent company revealed the dirty truth so few in the media are willing to admit, at least publicly: at the end of the day, ratings really are king.
On Thursday, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in “really good ratings” for CNN, which prominently aired a death toll counter throughout nearly all of its coverage during the final year of former President Donald Trump’s term in office. (CNN has used that tracker less frequently since President Joe Biden took office.)
“It turns out the pandemic is a pretty big part of the news cycle and that’s not going away anytime soon,” Kilar said, according to Wall Street Journal media reporter Joe Flint. “It turns out it’s really good for ratings.”
In his tweet, Flint warned Kilar to be “careful,” noting the WarnerMedia executive’s comment was similar to a remark made in 2016 by CBS’ Leslie Moonves, who said Trump’s presidency “may not be good for America, but it’s [expletive] good for CBS.”
Kilar, to his credit, apologized less than 30 minutes after Flint reported on his comment.
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“I agree, Joe,” replied Kilar. “I would like nothing more than for this pandemic to be well behind us. I mean that with every fiber in my body. I wish I could go back and be more thoughtful about my communication.”
The WSJ reporter thanked Kilar for his response, to which the WarnerMedia CEO added, “I am sorry for the sentence and for uttering it. My apologies. Thanks for highlighting it and holding me accountable.”
Kilar’s comment comes as, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 8% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Furthermore, Biden announced this week the U.S. will have enough vaccinations to inoculate every adult by the end of May.